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The “Rising Star” research exchange program is an ongoing trans-atlantic cooperation between the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at Yale School of Medicine and the Department of Radiology at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany. Initiated by the former Radiology chairman Professor Jeff Geschwind, Dr. Julius Chapiro, and their European partner Professor Bernhard Gebauer (Charité), this exchange program was designed to give medical students from Berlin a unique opportunity to work on their doctoral thesis in the United States. The program began in early 2013 at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD and continued after relocating to Yale. Professor Geschwind proudly stepped in as scientific supervisor of the program and describes the program as seeking to “support the next generation of physician-scientists early in their medical careers and to excite them for radiological research, which reaches far beyond what they have learned in medical school.” Dr. Chapiro describes the program as offering “transformative, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and opportunities to young researchers from Berlin.” He describes the hallmark of this collaboration as the “dedication to research, extraordinary discipline, and family-like, diverse research team which unites the best and the brightest in one research lab.”
Since the inception of the Radiology Research Lab at Yale in 2015, Yale medical students have been participating in summer research internships that have played an integral role in the Lab’s success and have found the experience rewarding scientifically, boosting in career development, and gratifying in mentorship. The medical students have been conducting independent research and have been demonstrating a track record of scholarship. Upon joining the lab, students are immediately paired with senior lab members and start assisting on active research projects while also developing an independent project that the medical student will lead to completion. Students join the lab during their first year of medical school, and engage in NIH funded, full-time research during their first summer for a period of 8 to 10 weeks. By the end of their tenure, all previous students have submitted scientific abstracts for presentation at internationally recognized scientific meetings and have concluded independent projects with first-author publications in peer-reviewed journals. Many students have received distinction in awards.